On April 23, after a nail-biting, reality T.V.-like cliffhanger, President Trump signed a $1.3 trillion budget that keeps the government open through September 2018. The 2,232-page document includes $825,000 for canola research under the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA’s) Supplemental and Alternative Crops Competitive Grants Program (SACC). The president’s signature means that these funds are officially available following months of running on a continuing resolution. Applications are now being accepted for SACC, which supports the development of canola as a viable alternative crop. About half of the applicants receive some money, but don’t wait too long: the deadline to apply is April 18.
On March 23, the U.S. Canola Association (USCA) submitted comments on topics and questions related to the development of the Dietary Guidelines for Americans 2020-2025 as requested in the Feb. 28, 2018 Federal Register. It summarized studies providing evidence that canola oil can help reduce heart disease risk and abdominal adiposity, manage type 2 diabetes, and may potentially help protect against colon and breast cancers. “Using canola oil as an everyday cooking oil is an easy, effective and budget-friendly way for Americans to reduce their risk of heart disease, manage diabetes and reduce abdominal fat,” said USCA President Rob Rynning. “Preliminary evidence also shows that it may help prevent certain types of cancer as well."
Included in the new Omnibus Appropriations bill is a provision to revise the Section 199A tax deduction related to agricultural cooperatives. The provision would repeal the 20 percent deduction of gross sales to co-ops. Farmers selling to co-ops would be able to claim a 20 percent deduction on net business income, with limits set on those with high incomes or capital gains. The deduction would be reduced by the lesser of the following amounts: 9 percent of the farmer's income from sales to the cooperative or 50 percent of wages attributed to those sales. In addition to this tax break, a farmer would be able to claim the pass-through deduction from the co-op, if any. Farms structured as C corporations, like many publicly held companies, would not be eligible for the farmer-level deductions.